Development of an experimental optical adaptive optics for small telescopes

Takeo Minezaki, Yukihiro Kono, Leonardo Vanzi, Abner Zapata, Mauricio Flores, Sebastian Ramirez, Keiichi Ohnaka

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


We are developing an optical adaptive optics (AO) system for small telescopes. An AO instrument in optical wavelength mounted on a 1-2 m class telescope located at a good seeing site will make it possible to achieve high angular resolution of 0.1-0.2 arcsec. Such capability will enable us to perform unique astronomical programs, as well as to provide good opportunity in education for both astronomy and engineering. In order to examine the AO capability on small telescopes, we developed an experimental AO instrument, in which inexpensive commercial devices are extensively used to reduce cost for development. We designed the weight and the physical size so small that it is portable and easy to be mounted on a small telescope, which is a unique feature of our AO instrument. After the engineering observations performed in Japan, we mounted it on the 1-m telescope of the European Southern Observatory of La Silla in Chile in March 2018 to examine the performance. We found that there were approximately 4 times and 5 times improvements in the full-width-halfmaximum (FWHM) and Strehl ratio of the PSF from the natural seeing, respectively. The best AO-corrected PSF obtained during the observation achieved FWHM=0.18 arcsec and the Strehl ratio = 0.18. Based on the detailed analysis of the timeseries wavefront and deformable-mirror-operation data, further improvement in AO performance is expected by adjustment of the system parameters. We succeeded in demonstrating the feasibility of an inexpensive optical AO system for small telescopes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdaptive Optics Systems VII
EditorsLaura Schreiber, Dirk Schmidt, Elise Vernet
ISBN (Electronic)9781510636835
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes
EventAdaptive Optics Systems VII 2020 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: 14 Dec 202022 Dec 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceAdaptive Optics Systems VII 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online


  • Adaptive optics
  • Optical
  • Small telescope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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